As research for my article on whole wheat pasta in today's Times, I conducted a casual whole-wheat pasta tasting at my home to try and determine the best supermarket brands, and (spoiler alert!) some of the results are pretty dire.
All the pastas were boiled separately in salted water according to package directions, then served hot without sauce. For the tasting, I was joined by Samantha Storey, an editor of the Dining section; Anna Klinger, chef and a co-owner of Al di Là in Park Slope, Brooklyn; and Emma Hearst, chef and a co-owner of Sorella on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Pastas are ranked in order of preference.
Bionaturae 100 percent Organic Whole-Wheat Spaghetti
Both the texture and the clean, nutty, subtle wheat flavor far exceeded the other brands ($3.19 for 16 ounces; 6 grams of fiber).
Garofalo Whole-Wheat Spaghetti
“Tastes like Grape-Nuts,” Ms. Hearst said, or like whole-wheat toast. The texture was pleasantly rough, with good bite ($2.19 for 16 ounces; 4 grams of fiber).
Gia Russa Whole-Wheat Fettuccine
Gentle, honey-like flavor; smooth and slippery, but lacking elasticity. “Kid pasta,” Ms. Klinger said ($2.99 for 16 ounces; 5 grams of fiber).
Wild Harvest Organic Whole-Wheat Spaghetti
Bland, floury, grainy and coarse ($1.59 for 12 ounces; 5 grams of fiber).
DeBoles Whole-Wheat Spaghetti-Style Pasta
Bitter aftertaste; a vaguely fermented flavor; starchy; grainy ($1.79 for 8 ounces; 5 grams of fiber).
De Cecco Enriched Whole-Wheat Spaghetti
Mildly nutty flavor, not bitter, very wheaty. Very rough and gritty; starchy, too ($2.99 for 17.5 ounces; 7 grams of fiber).
Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole-Grain Spaghetti
Washed-out, cardboard-like flavor; too firm in the center; mushy and paste-like outside ($2.18 for 13.25 ounces; 6 grams of fiber).
Barilla Whole-Grain Spaghetti
Bitter, with a metallic aftertaste; gluey, starchy and very gritty. “They should stop making this now,” Ms. Hearst said ($1.59 for 13.5 ounces; 6 grams of fiber).
The photo above is courtesy Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times